Lab-Grown Diamonds & Moissanite

Love the sparkle, but curious about alternatives to mined diamonds? Explore the unique qualities of lab-grown diamonds and Moissanite that make them an excellent choice of gemstone for daily wear.

Lab-Grown Diamonds 

What are lab-grown diamonds?


lab-grown diamond ring. Judith Arnell Jewelers.

Lab-grown diamonds, also known as lab created or cultured diamonds, are man-made diamonds created by simulating natural conditions of extreme heat and pressure or chemical vapor disposition. Both mined and created diamonds have identical chemical, optical, and physical properties. 

Lab-grown diamonds look and wear exactly the same as a mined diamond, making them a suitable choice for engagement rings and other important jewelry for daily wear as a material that will stand the test of time. 

Lab-grown diamonds are generally 30% to 50% less expensive than mined diamonds of equivalent qualities. Whether you are seeking to purchase a larger, better graded diamond or want to explore fancy-color variants of cultured diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are an excellent cost-effective alternative to mined diamonds. As lab-grown diamonds are cultured in a laboratory, they are guaranteed to be conflict free for your peace of mind. 

How are lab-grown diamonds created?

lab-grown diamonds Judith Arnell Jewelers

Lab grown diamonds diamonds are created by replicating certain favorable conditions growing crystal carbon. A sliver of an existing Type IIA diamond, otherwise known as a "seed," is placed in an environment that contains a specific recipe of carbon compounds. The seed is then subjected to a process called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), wherein the crystals are formed from hot plasma in layers, like semiconductors.

In the HPHT method, small diamond seeds are placed into a growth cell and graphite is inserted on top of the diamond seeds. The cell is heated to 1,500°C and pressurized to approximately 70,000 times the pressure at sea level. At this extreme temperature and pressure, the graphite in the growth cell is melted into liquid carbon and then carefully cooled in the strongest form of a carbon: a diamond crystal.

Depending on the color and size, it can take between 60 to 120 days to create a diamond in the laboratory. What results is a real rough diamond that is cut into an exceptionally beautiful faceted diamond with all the natural properties of a mined diamond. 

3 Myths About Lab-Grown Diamonds

1. Lab-grown diamonds are not real diamonds.

False. Lab-grown diamonds are 100% carbon and have the exact same chemical properties as mined diamonds. Lab-created diamonds are grown by recreating the conditions underneath the Earth that result in diamond growth: pressure, heat, and carbon. The Federal Trade Commission has even weighed in on this by ruling that lab-grown diamonds are to be labeled as real diamonds. The FTC ruling went further by stating that a diamond is a diamond whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground. 

2. Lab-grown diamonds are cheap to manufacture.

False. Lab-grown diamonds are more affordable option for customers when compared to mined diamonds with equivalent qualities, but the manufacturing costs remain comparatively high. De Beers' self-reported cost of mined diamonds was $104 per carat for rough diamonds in 2015. The marginal cost to grow diamonds in a laboratory is many times the cost for De Beers and other mining operations to dig diamonds out of the earth, even if you ignore the fixed costs of the machinery required to culture diamonds in a lab. The costs to cut, polish, and grade diamonds is exactly the same, regardless of the origin: grown or mined. 

3. All lab-grown diamonds are colorless and flawless.

False.The process to grow diamonds in a laboratory is very similar to the geological growth process. The same types of inclusions and imperfections present in mined diamonds can also occur in lab-grown diamonds. If the diamond crystal grows too fast, there can be minuscule cracks (feathers) in the diamond. There can also be small inclusions of trace elements or other growth defects that cause the diamond to be near-colorless or slightly included. Lab diamonds are graded by the exact same independent gemological laboratories that also grade mined diamonds.  



What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral known as silicon carbide. It was discovered in 1893 by Nobel Prize-winning French scientist Dr. Henri Moissan when examining a meteor crater near Diablo Canyon in Arizona. 

As naturally occurring Moissanites are extremely rare, all Moissanite gemstones in jewelry are synthetically produced in a laboratory. This conflict-free diamond alternative is available for a fraction of the price as diamonds of equivalent quality. 

How does Moissanite compare to diamonds?

Moissanite compared to diamond. Judith Arnell Jewelers.

This mineral from the stars is known for its refractive index which gives it its brilliant sparkle with greater "fire" than diamond. Moissanite is comparable to diamond in hardness —9.25 on the Mohs scale— which makes it suitable for daily wear.